Sky Bet League One
Bury 0 Charlton Athletic 1
TWELVE years ago this week, Charlton Athletic were preparing to meet Chelsea in the Premier League.
The London club had gone through the mill since then, with successive relegations and a calamitous regime led by their controversial owner Roland Duchelet.
Now, though, they are aiming for a first return to the Championship in three years.
And they helped their cause with a hard-fought win at Bury thanks to a second-half goal from Mark Marshall.
Karl Robinson's charges moved into the play-off positions with this result.
The Shakers, however, look to be heading in the opposite direction, with relegation to League Two a near-certainty as they remain stranded at the bottom of the table.
And, despite appointing a new manager in club legend Chris Lucketti last month, they have not scored a league goal since December and have now suffered seven defeats in a row in the same competition.
Bury were given a boost with the loan signings of Peter Clarke, from Oldham Athletic, and Sheffield United's James Hanson.
Both made their debuts, but could not help turn the tide at Gigg Lane.
Charlton, who could only name five players on the bench, thanks to a number of injuries, should have taken the lead in the third minute.
Jay DaSilva exploited Harry Bunn being out of position at right wing-back and cut inside to cross the ball for Ben Reeves, who headed just past the post.
The visitors were getting into the wide positions with ease, exposing Lucketti's decision to play three at the back and more attack-minded players such as Bunn and Zeli Ismail in defensive positions down the flanks.
The corresponding fixture here last season ended with a 2-0 win for Bury but, for the first 20 minutes in this game, it was all Charlton.
Marshall had a chance blocked on the line by Greg Leigh after it was parried by Bury's on-loan goalkeeper Connor Ripley.
Then Josh Magennis was put through but his touch was too soft and the ball was caught with ease by Ripley.
Bury's first chance cane when Josh Laurent's ball was met by Hanson, who headed wide of the far post.
Marshall was tormenting Bury's back line and again cut in to lay the ball off for Reeves, but the Northern Ireland international's effort was too soft.
Reeves was at the heart of the action again on the half-hour mark when his in-swinging free-kick into the box was headed on to his own post by Bury defender Nathan Cameron, before Charlton captain Ahmed Kashi's shot dipped over the bar.
Bury were competitive but there was no final ball in the last third and their only chance on target in the first-half came from Bunn who met a good ball into the box from Laurent, but hit it straight at Charlton goalkeeper Ben Amos.
The home side had more efforts at the start of the second-half than in the first 45 minutes.
Captain Stephen Dawson was put through but dreadfully mis-hit the ball well past the goal and then Ismail scuffed his shot beyond the post.
Charlton broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute.
Joe Aribo caused problems for Bury's defence and picked out Marshall in the area who put the ball in the back of the net from eight yards.
And the visitors nearly doubled their advantage six minutes later when Stepy Mavididi latched on to Reeves' pass, but the on-loan Arsenal striker's shot was deflected off the woodwork.
Chances were few and far between until the 89th minute.
Substitute Tsun Dai played a great ball into Hanson and Laurent fluffed his lines, slicing his effort beyond Charlton stopper Amos.
Bury remain 11 points clear of safety and seem to be fighting a losing battle, while Charlton continue to cement a position in the play-off places.
Lucketti was disappointed with the result.
He said: "We didn't do enough to win the game.
"We will go back on the training pitch and keep working hard and looking for solutions.
"There is a mentality problem within the group with the run we have are having and the lack of goals, but that is not just down to the strikers.
"We just need that spark and a win to set us off.
"There has to be light at the end of the tunnel and we will keep fighting and I will keep working on it until we get it right."
Bury: Ripley; Clarke, Cameron, Skarz (Cooney, 75); Leigh, Dawson, Laurent, Mayor, Ismail (Dai, 75), Bunn (Maguire, 84); Hanson.
Substitutes not used: Murphy, Edwards, Tutte and Danns.
Charlton Athletic: Amos; Kashi, Lennon, Konsa, DaSilva; Dijksteel, Reeves (Hackett-Fairchild, 84), Marshall, Aribo (Jackson, 89); Magennis, Mavididi (Forster-Caskey, 87).
Substitutes not used: Phillips and Solly.